The National Institute of Public Health informs Dagbladet that they have reported two threats against their own employees. Health director Bjørn Guldvog states that he has experienced threatening remarks.
– I do not want to say that the threat level has been high with us, but we have received threats as well. We have had a dialogue with the police about some of these threats. I do not think that the situation is very different between us and the National Institute of Public Health in that area, says health director Guldvog to Dagbladet.
– Have you experienced threats?
– I have received threatening remarks on social media. But I have not experienced it as a threat that can not be handled in a sensible way.
It was Dagens Næringsliv that first mentioned that the National Institute of Public Health reported a death threat from 12 June this year. The case concerned a man who called the switchboard from a hidden number, and directed death threats against employees in FHI. FHI stated that they understood it as the man expressing dissatisfaction with the department’s travel advice to and from countries in the Nordic region.
FHI told the newspaper that they also reported an incident from February this year, where a person behaved threateningly in an attempt to get in touch with director Camilla Stoltenberg.
It was Aftenposten that first mentioned that FHI has experienced an increased number of threats during the covid-19 epidemic. The National Institute of Public Health’s assistant director, Gun Peggy Knudsen, also confirms this to Dagbladet.
– We have seen a small increase in inquiries of various kinds, some of which are more threatening than others. Thus, we have now taken the step of reporting two cases to the police that we consider so serious that we would report them.
Some NIPH employees have participated in several press conferences, and frequented more often than others in the media. Knudsen confirms that some threats have been directed at FHI profiles.
– Some threats have been directed at profiled employees with us, who have participated in press conferences or in the media. Otherwise, we also see that we receive more general threats against the National Institute of Public Health and against the switchboard, without them being person-oriented, says Knudsen.
– Do you want to put in place measures to further take care of the employees?
– We have a fairly large focus on this already, and have initiated some measures to try to remind people of the situation, and take precautions related to it.
Minister of Health Bent Høie is fully aware that threats against employees of the National Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health are completely unacceptable.
– It is of course completely unacceptable to threaten public officials because they do an important job on behalf of all of us. I am glad that the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the National Institute of Public Health follow up on these types of threats in a cash way and report this to the police. Of course, this is not something that anyone should be exposed to, says the Minister of Health to Dagbladet.
– Have you experienced an increased level of threat in connection with the epidemic?
– I do not comment on my threat level. This is what PST considers at all times, says Høie.
The police security service informs Dagbladet that they do not comment on threats related to certain government officials.